Sudden Changes To Voter ID Laws
It seems that the Republican Party is now taking a totally different approach towards black people. If you recall, during the last round of the conservative presidential primaries, candidates wore their disdain for black people on their sleeves. Rick Santorum tells a crowd of Iowa voters that he doesn’t want to give their hard earned money to black people. Newt Gingrich said that he’d be more than happy to go to the NAACP and tell black people why they should develop a work ethic. Ron Paul has a newsletter with a history of outrageously racist rhetoric against black people. Texas Governor Rick Perry goes hunting at a place named Camp Niggerhead. Herman Cain says black people are brainwashed against conservatives and ignores the white people who think about conservatives in the very same way or the white conservatives who are brainwashed against anything liberal or anything associated with President Obama. Michelle Bachmann says that President Obama practices gangster politics, obviously because he’s black.
The Republican Party has a strong history of insensitivity for people in the black community. A typical response to anyone who may be offended by the racially insensitive tactics by the conservative presidential contenders is to dismiss it as nothing worth anybody listening to or anybody wasting their time on. Black people are merely trying to inject race into issues that are racially benign even though it was a candidate that brought race into the picture. The bottom line is that conservatives know that the louder and longer they beat the drums of racism the more attractive they appeal to many people within their base who are racist. So conservatives know their record with black people is pretty shitty and many could give a rat’s ass about it.
Conservatives know that as a general rule of thumb black people aren’t very likely to vote on their behalf. The tepid attempts to woo black voters is nowhere near enough to make a dent in all the rhetoric and political policy the GOP has made against black people. Black people vote liberal at a rate that ranks in the upper ninety percentile. If the GOP does anything to appeal to black voters they run the risk of offending their political base. So the GOP knows that if you can’t win black voters over, the next best thing is to do whatever it takes to keep black people from voting. Hence the conservatives’ push for new voter identification laws that unfairly target poor and minority voters.
Across the country conservative led state legislatures are adding laws to the books that set new standards for what is necessary to vote. For hundreds of years voters never needed a state sanctioned photo ID. Now, many states want to make it mandatory under the pretext that voter fraud is so rampant that nothing less than the future of our democracy is at stake. Intent on putting forth a show that these moves are not intended to favor one political outcome over another, these state legislatures are offering to give away photo IDs to citizens who may now need to obtain them. But any cost to obtain any documentation needed to obtain the photo ID such as a certified copy of a birth certificate, marriage certificate, immigration documentation, or etcetera, are still up to the individual. And it should be remembered that we are talking about the poor and racial minorities who may not have the resources to just up and go to the state office, let alone purchase the legal documentation necessary to confirm who they claim to be.
In typical racially insensitive form people reply that somebody’s trying to insert racism into an issue where there is no racial intent. All people have to do is get an ID. But I’m reminded of the story of an elderly black widow who has voted for decades without the need for a photo ID. She doesn’t drive and never needed a photo ID before. The people she banks with must know her as a regular customer because she doesn’t need a photo ID to conduct business there. All she has to do is apply for a state ID. But when she went to the state with her birth certificate, it didn’t match her married name and her husband was dead and her marriage certificate was not available from the state. She would have to hire a lawyer so she can get the documentation that would allow her to get a photo ID so she can vote. Getting a photo ID is just that simple.
This woman falls into the category that conservatives want to disenfranchise. And despite their protestations to the contrary, Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Mike Turzai told an audience of Republican supporters that the new voter identification law in his state will help former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney to win that state. His enthusiasm was met with an approving round of applause. There is little doubt that these conservatives will brag that the United States is the model of freedom and the protectors of democracies around the world. And these same people want to play this voter identification bullshit right here in our own backyard.
These same people will point to universal healthcare and yell that our political freedoms are at under attack. These people will say that we should have the freedom to let the poor do without any form of medical attention until their condition becomes critical and a trip to the emergency room for the most expensive form of medical care becomes inevitable. Freedom is under attack when the federal government blocks the push for a pipeline from Alberta, Canada to Galveston, Texas. Some conservatives will say our political freedom is under attack whenever Mr. Obama appears on television. But when the right to vote is being attacked under the phony excuse that the integrity of our elections are under threat because somebody might cast two votes and now millions of Americans are now being forced to jump through hoops to meet a standard that was never necessary before, that’s just the racism of America evolving to modern times.
You need an ID to go to the bank after all. The problem is that I needed a photo ID to go to the bank five years ago and I didn’t need one to go vote. The fact that banks always required some form of photo identification doesn’t explain the sudden need for changes to the voter identification laws now. The only difference between then and now that really explains things is that the Republican Party has decided to cut their losses and double down on their disenfranchisement with the poor and racial minority. But some people will try to dismiss this as nothing more than black people trying to inject race into another issue that already has race written all over it.
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